Wednesday, March 3, 2021

When intimacy is used to blackmail

Social media users should be wary about letting themselves be caught in compromising positions.

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Many people are struggling to earn a decent income during this time of pandemic by working from home. But there is also a growing number of people who resort to illegal ways to make easy money online.

The latest trend in this regard is to apply the “mirror effect” in order to hoodwink social media users and, eventually, hold them at ransom. Lately, these activities have been on an upward trend, and the number of police reports on these incidents is alarming.

In Selangor alone, 180 reports were lodged this year from January to November. Most of the victims were men aged 20 to 40.

The mirror effect is an age-old technique of manipulation. It is a reflection of oneself through the gaze of others and can be obtained directly from another person through observation, listening to his or her comments, or watching a video.

During your time on social media, you might have come across attractive women who want to befriend you. Don’t you think it’s too good to be true? Yet people still get into trouble by letting these overly friendly strangers have a chat with them. After becoming friends, their next move is to start a video chat. After a few minutes of flirting and gaining the confidence of their victims, they start removing their clothes to further lure their victims.

This is the opportune time for the perpetrators to apply the mirror effect to the detriment of the poor men’s dignity. In other words, they instruct the men to remove their clothes as well. They then snap inappropriate pictures and, hours or days after the first kinky video chat, the victims receive a message. The so-called sexy new friend will be demanding money in exchange for keeping the pictures from being circulated on social media.

The victims, out of fear of being shamed on social media, wouldn’t think twice about paying the ransom. Nevertheless, they report the incidents after being stripped of their money.

It is incumbent on us men to be wary at all times of these social media friends who are too good to be true. Just take a second or two whenever you come across these people, especially good-looking women who want to befriend you. Don’t let yourself be caught in your birthday suit, and do place the utmost importance on your valuable dignity.

Women social media users hardly fall into these kinds of traps set by male social media users. This shows that women are more careful about their social media affairs and concerned about their dignity.

However, they can become victims after their relationships with their husbands or boyfriends turn sour. These men then use pictures or video recordings taken while they were on good terms to threaten their ex-girlfriends or wives.

Intimacy and sexuality should reflect love and trust between a man and a woman. It’s a divine force that should not be abused. Its purpose is to prolong human existence, so learn to appreciate it and do not abuse it.

Mohamad Farouk Eshak is Ampang Jaya district police chief.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of MalaysiaNow.

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